Wednesday, March 31, 2010

street with a [discontinuous] view

When the AAC hosted this Google Street View intervention back in 2009, the sheer strangeness of the Street View function never really registered with me. Maybe I was a little too focused on the marching band, the faux marathon, and, oh, yeah, the love laser. To me, Ben Kinsley and Robin Hewlett were simply challenging our expectations for Google to provide an objective, empirically processed picture of the world.
But what do Street View's equirectangular panoramas have to do with the world as it actually is, anyway? Greg Allen takes a long hard look at their construction and comes to this fascinating conclusion:
" the basic, traditional theoretical sense, whatever Google Street View images are, they are not photography."
Read his whole post here.

Monday, March 29, 2010

roundup of roundups

Over at Pink Line, Philippa posts links to recent examples of DC-centric arts writing--including a CP piece on breaking into DC art circles with Vincent Gallegos...and an anti-conceptual art essay presented in connection with this otherwise fabulous show. (Are we really still having this conversation? Really? Sigh.)

MAN, Tyler spends an uncharacteristic amount of time picking apart recent Post arts coverage as only Tyler can. He also runs a letter from Julian Bond and John Anderson re: Philip Kennicott's pro-Pew take on Art of the Steal, the documentary explaining why the Barnes collection will be moving from Merion, PA to Philadelphia...and why Albert Barnes might be rising from his grave any minute now to consume Derek Gillman's brains. (Read the NYT's take on the film here.)

One unrelated link: Kriston Capps has a review of Mia Feuer's recent show at Transformer in Artforum. Read it

Kriston, dude, you know I'm a fan...but this piece is a little less readable than I'm used to from you:

Best understood as a casual sketch, and as a passive piece that considers compositional ideas that have typically been cast as gallant and brash, Feuer’s installation, while striving for lightness, skirts insubstantiality.

Geez. It's almost as if you were writing this for the pages of Artfo...ah, never mind.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

at least art students still like me

Blair Bainbridge, a student in Kriston Capps's FA 193 class at GW, sticks up for TRANSHUMAN CONDITIONS in Bluff, and takes issue with Jessica's takedown of the show. Read it here.

Kriston will have his own review of the show in the next issue of ART PAPERS, so look for that soon. In that review, I predict that he will unfavorably compare me with Erasmus, and kick me around for failing to heed Vasari re: sprezzatura.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

six degrees of aac

There are two time-sensitive shows to see this week--and both, as with nearly all good art-related events that happen in this city, ineluctably lead back to the aac. How about that?

Philippa has posted a little video interview with Jeong-ok Jeon, curator of Desirable Fairy Tales: Between Fantasy and Reality, a contemporary art exhibit over at the KORUS house/Korean Embassy. You have through this Thursday, March 25 to catch it.

The show features work by our very own aac resident artist
Gilbert Trent, as well as by one of my favorite young photographers, Satomi Shirai. I included her work in PUBLIC/PRIVATE here at the aac last year; she was also selected for the National Portrait Gallery's portrait competition, which remains on view through August.

Second: DC artist
John James Anderson is hard at work creating jobs--or, at least, little buttons that say "JOB" on them:

As an artistic action, I thought it would be a good idea to create some JOBs and distribute them to people. Some might argue that my JOBs are worthless. However, if pressed, these same individuals might also say the same about their own jobs. What good are these JOBs, then? If nothing else, if you receive a JOB, at least you can always say you "have a JOB."

Okay, fair enough.

He passed these out to those feeling financially strapped or otherwise underemployed by the Dupont Circle Q Street metro entrance last Wednesday, March 17, and should be out again this Wednesday, too. Visit the
project website for more details.

John will also be in our next show here at the aac, SPRING SOLOS 2010--along with Mia Feuer,
Greg Thielker, Steven Pearson, Ana Hernandez, and Rachel Schmidt. Opens April 16.

Friday, March 19, 2010

reperformance art must be beautiful; reperformance artist must be beautiful

Read this post on the Art:21 blog by Ivan Lozano, a Chicago-based video artist and arts writer with a formidable beard.

Ivan is in our
current show at aac; he flew all the way out here from Chicago to participate in last night's panel discussion, WE HAVE DECIDED NOT TO DIE. (Thanks, Ivan!) Neuroscience, gay porn, distributed cognition, and why white people can't dance were only a few of the topics we considered.

In his post, Ivan considers how an older generation of performance artists has tried--and often failed--to preserve a record of their works and to maintain their legacies. He talks specifically about how performance art "diva"
Marina Abramovic seems to be trying to create a sort of preservation orthodoxy around reperformance--the practice of having younger stand-ins recreate canonical works live in the museum.

Good stuff.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

no one will pinch me today...

...because on my way out of the house, I stuffed a green googley-eyed cat toy in my front jacket pocket.

Anyway, here are the Pogues, looking young, sober, and in fighting trim, with a song from their Elvis Costello-produced 1985 album, Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


This Thursday night you should definitely come by the AAC for our Pink-Line-approved panel discussion, WE HAVE DECIDED NOT TO DIE.

On the panel will be fabulous DC drag photo guy Jason Horowitz; New York futurist artist Shane Hope; Chicago based video artist Ivan Lozano; neuroscientist and ethicist Dr. James Giordano; and Martin E. Rosenberg, an independent scholar who's currently running the AG3 online conference for Arakawa and Gins--it runs through March 26. You can check out the program here, and see the conference introduction below.

Each panelist will give a brief presentation about what they do and why the do it; then we'll have a discussion moderated by me, and then we'll open it up to questions from the audience. Free, and we'll have refreshments for your refreshment. So come on by!

Monday, March 08, 2010

let's push things forward

If you haven't read it already, Kriston has a review of the 2010 Whitney Biennial here. Kriston's conclusions: Thinning the show a bit was a move in the right direction...but overall, not enough of these artists are finding a way to advance the discourse. He complained particularly about conceptual artists failing to move their work much past the origins of their practice in the 1960s.

This is not unlike how I felt after spending an entire day at the Armory Show (read commentary and see images over at
AFC here; read the NYT's take and additional praise of Peter Coffin's double peg-legged pirate here). The show, as expected, was overwhelming, but my impressions were that here, too, artists were looking back more than they were looking forward.

At the Armory, I saw: chunky, ugly paintings done with fluorescent colors and thick impasto (or, conversely, thin, wan, sketchy paintings looking like third-rate versions of
Luc Tuymans); references to guns, rock bands, and porn; uninspiring erector set minimalist sculptures; cartoony paintings that would've worked equally well hanging in a booth at an alt-craft fair; and...taxidermy? There was, as Paddy noted, a lot of strange animal art this year.

And then there's the phenomenon of the gallery that puts all of its eggs into one, big, questionable basket: See the anticlimax of Tony Feher's Pace Wildenstein install, featuring colorful found objects, more colorful found objects, and, oh yeah, pictures of penises. See also Adam McEwen's I Am Curious Yellow in Nicole Klagsbrun's space, featuring yellow carpeting, a phony obituary for
Caster Semenya, the South African runner whose gender was publicly questioned in 2009, and, um, a yellow swastika. (I think McEwen's installation was stronger/more thought provoking than Feher's, but, still.)

I was surprised to find myself enjoying the Sean Landers mini-retrospective that
Friedrich Petzel offered--maybe because I've seen so much bad kitschy, lowbrow, self-referential and deliberately self-defeating work by young artists in the last five years that Landers looks light years better and smarter.

Overall, the energy was good, but I didn't see much that surprised me, or felt new--just different versions of familiar objects and strategies. Maybe that's the best we can hope for right now given the state of the economy.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

the idea of north

I'm on the highway heading northward, and expect to be wandering around looking at art by 1:00 this afternoon. Check for new posts on Monday.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

feuer information

Sculptor and recent D.C. transplant Mia Feuer is interviewed today in Brightest Young Things. Read all about it here.

Mia has a show opening this Friday at Transformer...which is a little unfortunate, since everyone I know will be in New York that night for the Winter Art Olympics. Including myself. But, hey, if I had a teleporter...

Anyway, you should definitely go see the exhibition soon. And, as it happens (there's always a connection, isn't there?) Mia will be showing a different super-sized installation at aac starting April 16--she's one of the six artists featured in Spring Solos 2010. The piece should be similar to (or a variation on) her 2009 piece, Evacuation Route with Rubies (pictured below).